Statue of John Wesley- London, England
United Methodist History
United Methodism traces its history back to the early Christian church and the Protestant Reformation. The Reformation was a period of religious fervor that saw the division of Catholicism and Protestantism. After a religious experience in 1738, Anglican Priest John Wesley, set out with his brother Charles to form societies of "Methodists," so-called because members followed a rigorous daily routine of methodical study, religious observance, personal piety, and public service.
After the American Revolution when British institutions were promptly dismantled and ties with the Anglican church were severed, John Wesley formed the Methodist Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland in 1784.
Soon hundreds of traveling preachers ("circuit riders") were deployed in the colonies. They spread religion, scriptural holiness, and hope to thousands of receptive people who longed for relevant faith and purposeful service. Soon preachers, missionaries, and servants were deployed to proclaim, demonstrate and witness God's love and grace on every continent. The Methodist movement still continues to spread.
In 1968, the United Brethren Church joined the Methodist Church due to our shared Wesleyan heritage. This formed the United Methodist Church.
Shelton United Methodist Church celebrates our rich religious heritage and vital practice. In fact, it has emphasized personal piety, study, service, and outreach since 1885.
Our Local History
Stained glass window from our prior church building.
The "Cross and Flame" is our historic United Methodist logo representing Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit
Shelton United Methodist Church was started in 1885 with four members. The first pastor, the Reverend Gordon Henry, traveled from Olympia by boat to serve our church.
In 1887, our first resident pastor arrived and the first church building was built at 2nd and Cota Street on a site donated by David Shelton.
In 1909, a new parsonage was purchased at 4th and Pine Street. In 1923 our little white church on Cota Street tragically burned, but within six months a new church was dedicated at a new location next to the parsonage. In 1926, a beautiful stained glass window was dedicated at the new church. After years of growing, remodeling and expansion, we built our present church on King Street in 1966.
The property at 4th and Pine was sold to St. Edward's Catholic Church in 1966 and subsequently razed. It is now a parking lot. However, the stained glass window was saved and is now on view in the lobby of our present church (see left).
For more than a century, we have been served by many pastors and hundreds of lay leaders and servants. Our history involves three church buildings, three different church conferences, and three different denominational names (Methodist Episcopal Church, The Methodist Church, and The United Methodist Church). We hope to be here for another century to proclaim the Gospel, reach out with grace and compassion, and further God's kingdom one soul at a time.
The local logging industry had dominated the local history, landscape, and economy for more than a century. Its influence has waned somewhat in recent years, which is reshaping Shelton's future and identity. Through it all, Shelton UMC has adapted and continues to evolve to ensure relevance, vitality and viability in an ever-changing world.